New rules may force local truck stop to give up tiger   Leave a comment

new tony rules
NOTE: Video at: http://www.nbc33tv.com/news/louisiana-politics/new-exotic-animal-restric
POSTED: Tuesday, September 2, 2014 – 11:09pm
UPDATED: Wednesday, September 3, 2014 – 11:59am

The owner of Tiger Truck Stop is fighting a new set of rules that might force his to give up his main attraction.

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is considering new restrictions on exotic animals and held a public hearing about them on Tuesday.

Among the proposed amendments is a change in the definition of a zoo, which would exclude Tiger Truck Stop.

“A zoo is defined as more than one species or more than one animal. Who are you targeting other than me?” asked Michael Sandlin, owner of Tiger Truck Stop.

The Grosse Tete truck stop would not meet several of the new requirements for a zoo: that it be accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums; that it be publicly- or municipally-owned; and that it have more than one animal.

Animal activists say the truck stop is no place for a tiger. Some of the people who attended the hearing described seeing very poor living conditions. “What I saw were several throwing rocks at Tony, and I had to intervene to stop them,” recalled Carney Anne Nasser, a Tulane Law School professor and member of the Animal Legal Defense Fund.

Tiger Truck Stop’s permit has survived several attempts by activists to have him moved. Employees say the fight has gotten personal.

“We’ve been threatened to be bombed. We’ve been threatened to be shot at when we leave work,” stated Melissa Macy. “That’s a terrorist action. Not an activist, that’s a terrorist.”

The proposal would also ban people from owning exotic animals, like cougars or bears, and slowly phase out private ownership of monkeys. Additionally, it gives agents more power to make unannounced inspections. “Very few people can afford the nutritional requirements of wildlife, their very specific biological needs, and certainly their environmental and housing needs,” said Hilton Cole, Director of Animal Control for East Baton Rouge Parish.

Sandlin defended the way Tony lives, both the way he’s cared for and the way visitors are protected. He claims that the truck stop, which is accredited by the United States Zoological Association, is the safest possible place for him.

“I would say, you could take it from any angle, and see that there are more accidents at AZA-accredited zoos than private zoos anywhere in this country,” he stated.

The public comment period is over for the proposal. The comments will be viewed by the secretary of the department and the Wildlife and Fisheries Commission. A decision can be made either to adopt, modify, or reject the changes between the middle of October and July 2015, but sources say the decision should be made sometime this fall.

Sandlin indicated that he would file a lawsuit against the state if the proposal is enacted.

Via @ALDF: Urgent Action for Louisiana’s Animals!   Leave a comment

Reposting this important action alert from the Animal Legal Defense Fund. PLEASE visit this ink: http://aldf.org/urgent-action-for-louisianas-animals/ to urge the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries to adopt the proposed changes to the state’s dangerous wild animal regulations. Comments are due by this Saturday, August 30. Please share. Thank You!

Urgent Action for Louisiana’s Animals!

Next week, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries will consider positive new amendments to its regulations governing the possession of big exotic cats, non-human primates, bears, wolves, and other dangerous wild animals.

tiger-cc-cynicalview-article-image-feature

These amendments will close a loophole that might otherwise enable unscrupulous exhibitors to obtain an exemption from the state’s restrictions on private possession of dangerous species. They also will allow for the Department to make key, unannounced inspections at facilities that house dangerous wild animals. While ALDF continues to seek justice and freedom for Tony the tiger, the welfare of other captive wild and exotic animals will remain at risk unless these important regulatory changes are made.

We need your help today to make sure that the Department does the right thing and adopts these critical changes!

Take Action

Urge the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries to adopt the proposed changes to the state’s dangerous wild animal regulations. Comments are due by this Saturday, August 30.

Take Action Button

Spread the Word

Share this action on Facebook and Twitter using the links below, or click on the image to view the action on Facebook.

i-believe-the-law-should-protect-all-animals-500px

Join Us in Louisiana

If you live in Louisiana, please also join ALDF attorneys and attend next week’s hearing to speak up in support of these proposed amendments. Those who profit off of the cruel exploitation of wild and exotic animals have mobilized to oppose these important changes, so it’s critical that we have as many supporters as possible at the hearing to make our voices heard!

When:

Tuesday, Sept. 2, 2014, 6:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.

Where:

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries
Louisiana Room
2000 Quail Drive
Baton Rouge, LA 70898

Posted August 26, 2014 by freetonythetiger in Uncategorized

Video For Tony ~ Thank You Tiger The Cat ~ @TigerTheCatFat   Leave a comment

tiger the cat

Tiger The Cat

I’m continually amazed and touched by the love and support people and “anipals” demonstrate for Tony.

On Twitter, “Tony” has many friends, or anipals / furiends as he refers to them. This past week a cat named Tiger tweeted to Tony and they struck up a friendship.

Tiger was so moved by his big cousin’s plight, he made the following video for Tony and blogged about him too.

See Tiger’s post here: http://tigerthecat.com/tiger-cat-supports-big-cousin-tony-tiger/

Thanks Tiger!

Posted August 9, 2014 by freetonythetiger in Uncategorized

Pictures of Tony ~ July 31, 2014   Leave a comment

New pictures of Tony are always appreciated. If you visit Tony, document your visit with pictures and video, and please share them with us. Send us a link via Twitter @FreeTonyTiger or email: roar4tony@yahoo.com

Thank you H. Green for sharing your pictures of Tony with us taken on July 31, 2014

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

Posted August 3, 2014 by freetonythetiger in Uncategorized

Remembering Tony and ALL Tigers on International Tiger Day ~ July 29, 2014   Leave a comment

Please click picture for ways to help tigers! Courtesy of Animal Defenders International

Please click picture for ways to help tigers! Courtesy of Animal Defenders International

 

International Tiger Day, or Global Tiger Day – created at the St. Petersburg Tiger Summit in 2010 – is celebrated on July 29th. Its’ goal is to raise world awareness for wild tigers and support for their conservation. Tigers are magnificent majestic big cats who deserve our utmost respect, protection and advocacy. We would like to do our part to help promote this day by posting actions and sites to visit to learn more about wild tigers,  ways we can help tigers in captivity…and to of course show our love and support for Tony ~ who has himself raised awareness to the plight of captive tigers in the U.S.

WILD TIGERS

Sadly there are only an estimated 3,200 of Tony’s “cousins” remaining in the wild,  a decline of 97% since the turn of the century.

Six sub-species remain: Amur, Bengal, Sumatran, Indo-Chinese, Malayan, South China (functionally extinct – has not been sighted in the wild for more than 25 years); Three are extinct: Bali, Caspian and Javan.

Poaching, human-tiger conflict, loss of habitat and prey are the main threats to tigers. Learn more about wild tigers and how we can help support efforts to save them:

http://wwf.panda.org/what_we_do/endangered_species/tigers2/tiger_wwf_double_tiger_number/

http://wwf.panda.org/?226391/GlobalTigerDay2014

 

“Of those people who privately own a tiger here in the US, the majority aren’t trained to care for animals in general, let alone tigers. And, unbelievable as it sounds, there is no complete record of captive tigers in America.

These tigers could be victims of wildlife crime. Without strict regulations on the private ownership of tigers, we cannot prevent them, or their bones and skins, from finding a way into the lucrative illegal international black market.” via World Wildlife Fund.

Protect tigers: Keep them out of American backyards!

https://support.worldwildlife.org/site/Advocacy?cmd=display&page=UserAction&id=797

CAPTIVE U.S. TIGERS

Tony is one of the estimated 5,000 or more privately owned tigers in the United States and his plight has definitely raised awareness to this serious issue. Captive U.S. tigers are used in roadside zoos and attractions, photo ops and exhibitions, entertainment shows and circuses, pseudo-sanctuaries, bred for profit or are owned as “pets.” From IFAW: “Private possession of big cats is a legal patchwork: 30 states ban private possession, 14 states allow possession with a permit, and 6 states have absolutely no restrictions on private possession at all.” ( http://www.ifaw.org/united-states/big-cat-advocates-map )

  • S 1381 / HR 1998 ~ THE BIG CATS AND PUBLIC SAFETY PROTECTION ACT

One of the most important ways we can help tigers like Tony and other captive big cats in the United States is to support HR 1998 ~ The Big Cats and Public Safety Protection Act. This bill would prohibit the private possession and breeding of captive big cats in the United States except at highly-qualified facilities like accredited zoos where they can be properly cared for and safely managed. It would only allow breeding at accredited zoos, along with some research or educational institutions.

You can take action by asking your Congress Members for their co-sponsorship and support of this bill; visit this link from Big Cat Rescue – Tampa FL:

http://bigcatrescue.org/big-cats-and-public-safety-protection-hr1998-s1381/

 

  • HR 4525 ~TEAPA – The Traveling Exotic Animal Protection Act

Please also support Animal Defenders International’s campaign Stop Circus Suffering by asking your Representative to co-sponsor and support HR 4525 – TEAPA – The Traveling Exotic Animal Protection Act. Animals suffer and are abused horrifically in circuses – this bill would end the use of exotic animals in circuses and traveling shows. Visit this link to learn more:

http://www.stopcircussuffering.com/get-involved/usa-get-involved/

and take action:

http://www.stopcircussuffering.com/get-involved/usa-get-involved/support-teapa/

teapa tigers

Tigers with Cole Brothers Circus – 2014

 

  • TONY

 

tigers are not

THANK YOU to EVERYONE for your support and dedication to Tony. On Twitter Tony is known as “the captive tiger ambassador” because so many people around the world have come to learn about the problem of captive tigers in the United States from him and his tweets.

We support ALDF’s continued efforts to secure Tony’s release to a reputable big cat sanctuary, three of which have standing offers of a home for him:

Big Cat Rescue in Tampa Florida ~ http://bigcatrescue.org/

The Wildcat Sanctuary in Sandstone MN ~ http://www.wildcatsanctuary.org/

The Wild Animal Sanctuary in Keenesburg CO ~ http://www.wildanimalsanctuary.org/

We ask Tony’s friends to remain supportive and positive for Tony and continue to network for him:

  • Tony’s change.org petition asking the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries to enforce the law remains open:

http://www.change.org/petitions/ldwf-ensure-tony-the-tiger-is-released-to-a-reputable-sanctuary

Petitions are a good medium to keep people supportive, involved as well as demonstrate the interest and support Tony has worldwide.

Note: LDWF refused to enforce state law though they had the authority to seize Tony.
LDWF’s position statement on privately ownership of tigers:

“It is the Department’s position that private possession of tigers poses a significant hazard to public safety and is detrimental to the health of the animal. Prolonged confinement is by its nature stressful to tigers and proper long-term care by experienced persons is essential to the health of the animal.”

Join ~ Follow ~ Share these social networking sites for Tony

  • Facebook:

http://www.facebook.com/FreeTonyTheTiger

  • Twitter:

@FreeTonyTiger http://twitter.com/#!/FreeTonyTiger

@TonyTiger2000: http://twitter.com/#!/TonyTiger2000

  • Instagram:

http://instagram.com/tonythetruckstoptiger/#

  • Pinterest:

http://pinterest.com/tonytiger2000/

  • Youtube:

http://www.youtube.com/user/FreeTonyTheTiger

  • WordPress:

http://freetonythetiger.wordpress.com/

  • If you visit Tony, document your visit with pictures and/or video and please share them. Send us a link via Twitter, on Tony’s Facebook page or email: roar4tony@yahoo.com

Special Thanks to Animal Legal Defense Fund for their extraordinary representation of Tony and dedication to him. Please visit their site to learn more about them and their tremendous work to help animals through the legal system and support their Animal Bill of Rights http://animalbillofrights.aldf.org/

Please share this post and LET’S ROAR FOR TIGERS on INTERNATIONAL TIGER DAY!

roaring

Posted July 29, 2014 by freetonythetiger in Uncategorized

Tony ~ 14 Years At Tiger Truck Stop   Leave a comment

july 4 tonyJuly 4th is a day when we celebrate our nation’s independence ~ in essence our freedom ~ in contrast it’s a fitting day (albeit disheartening) to also mark Tony’s 14 years at the truck stop – exploited as a roadside attraction.

sign comparisonAccording to the sign posted on Tony’s cage, he was born in July 2000 – this month marking his 14th year. It is reported that Tony was acquired by Michael Sandlin as a 6 month old cub from a Texas breeder.

Tony’s saga has been a roller-coaster series of events including:

ALDF’s court victories:

  • Judge Caldwell granting a permanent injunction blocking LDWF from issuing a new permit to him, and ordering the current permit revoked

  • The Louisiana Court of Appeal upholding the lower court’s rulings

  • The Louisiana Supreme Court denying a petition to review the Louisiana Court of Appeal’s ruling

And the shameful SB 250:

After exhausting all of his options via the courts, Michael Sandlin enlisted his state Senator, Rick Ward, to propose a bill, SB 250, to exempt himself from Louisiana state law banning private ownership of big cats. This outrageous bill passed both the Senate and House and was signed by Governor Jindal recently. Immediately the Animal Legal Defense issued a statement saying they would challenge the validity of SB 250. On June 25, 2014 ALDF filed suit against the State of Louisiana for violating the Louisiana Constitution by passing a law that exempts a single individual from existing state public safety and animal welfare laws. Defendants include the State of Louisiana, the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF), the Tiger Truck Stop, and Michael Sandlin. For complete information visit: http://aldf.org/press-room/press-releases/animal-legal-defense-fund-files-lawsuit-against-louisiana-for-violating-state-constitution-with-new-tony-the-truck-stop-tiger-law/

SB 250 supporters can argue interminably, but there is no justification whatsoever – legally, ethically or humanely – to make the case for Tony to be kept at the truck stop. Tony has been exploited for 14 years; tigers are not gimmicks, attractions, props or pets. They are magnificent, dangerous big cats who deserve our respect and protection. Tony deserves the opportunity to retire to a peaceful, healthy, natural environment. No animal should be exploited as a roadside attraction at a truck stop.

 

We support ALDF’s continued efforts to secure Tony’s release to a reputable big cat sanctuary, three of which have standing offers of a home for him:

Big Cat Rescue in Tampa Florida ~ http://bigcatrescue.org/

The Wildcat Sanctuary in Sandstone MN ~ http://www.wildcatsanctuary.org/

The Wild Animal Sanctuary in Keenesburg CO ~ http://www.wildanimalsanctuary.org/

We ask Tony’s friends to remain supportive and positive for Tony and continue to network for him:

  • Tony’s change.org petition asking the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries to enforce the law remains open:

http://www.change.org/petitions/ldwf-ensure-tony-the-tiger-is-released-to-a-reputable-sanctuary

Petitions are a good medium to keep people supportive, involved as well as demonstrate the interest and support Tony has worldwide.

Note: LDWF refused to enforce state law though they had the authority to seize Tony.
LDWF’s position statement on privately ownership of tigers:

“It is the Department’s position that private possession of tigers poses a significant hazard to public safety and is detrimental to the health of the animal. Prolonged confinement is by its nature stressful to tigers and proper long-term care by experienced persons is essential to the health of the animal.”

Join ~ Follow ~ Share these social networking sites for Tony

  • Facebook:

http://www.facebook.com/FreeTonyTheTiger

  • Twitter:

@FreeTonyTiger http://twitter.com/#!/FreeTonyTiger

@TonyTiger2000: http://twitter.com/#!/TonyTiger2000

  • Instagram:

http://instagram.com/tonythetruckstoptiger/#

  • Pinterest:

http://pinterest.com/tonytiger2000/

  • Youtube:

http://www.youtube.com/user/FreeTonyTheTiger

  • WordPress:

http://freetonythetiger.wordpress.com/

  • If you visit Tony, document your visit with pictures and/or video and please share them. Send us a link via Twitter, on Tony’s Facebook page or email: roar4tony@yahoo.com
If you visit Tony please share your pictures with us. Email roar4tony@yahoo.com. Thanks V. Perkins for these pictures taken June 2014.

If you visit Tony please share your pictures with us. Email roar4tony@yahoo.com. Thanks V. Perkins for these pictures taken June 2014.

Thanks to ALL of Tony’s friends – your support and dedication to this beautiful tiger is greatly appreciated and so very important in working towards the home and life Tony deserves

Special Thanks to Animal Legal Defense Fund for their extraordinary representation of Tony and dedication to him. Please visit their site to learn more about them and their tremendous work to help animals through the legal system and support their Animal Bill of Rights http://animalbillofrights.aldf.org/

We close with two videos: the first from ALDF when they visited Tony at the truck stop, and the second from Big Cat Rescue in Tampa FL of one of their residents TJ the tiger enjoying his “vacation” in their newly built 2.5 acre habitat “Vacation Rotation.” Our vision is to see Tony run, play, swim and experience the magnificent big cat he is at one of the sanctuaries aforementioned in this post and to “Be a Tiger” like TJ in this video. Those who deny Tony this opportunity truly lack compassion and respect for him but we are not deterred by their corrupt actions and ignorance.

We remain steadfast in our efforts to see Tony have the home, care and life he deserves.

 

Lawsuit challenges constitutionality of Tony the Tiger law   Leave a comment

Tony the Tiger looks out of his cage at the Tiger Truck Stop in Grosse Tete on June 20, 2014. Gov. Bobby Jindal signed into law Senate Bill 250, granting an exception for the tiger, but a former state lawmaker and two residents are suing the state, the truck stop and its owner, saying the law is unconstitutional.

Tony the Tiger looks out of his cage at the Tiger Truck Stop in Grosse Tete on June 20, 2014. Gov. Bobby Jindal signed into law Senate Bill 250, granting an exception for the tiger, but a former state lawmaker and two residents are suing the state, the truck stop and its owner, saying the law is unconstitutional.

 

Truck stop Bengal at center of debate

A new chapter has begun in the protracted legal battle over the fate of a 14-year-old, 550-pound Bengal tiger kept in a roadside enclosure at a truck stop in the Iberville Parish town of Grosse Tete.

Less than a week after legislation was signed into law allowing Tony to remain at Tiger Truck Stop, a former legislator and two Louisiana residents filed suit asking a judge in Baton Rouge to strike down what they contend is an unconstitutional special law that gives preferential treatment to the tiger’s owner.

Former state Rep. Warren Triche Jr., who sponsored Louisiana’s 2006 big cat ban, and residents John Kelleher and Juliette Dauterive are suing the state, Tiger Truck Stop and its owner, Michael Sandlin.

Despite pressure from animal rights groups to veto it, Gov. Bobby Jindal signed Senate Bill 250 into law last week. The bill, which granted an exception for Sandlin’s tiger, is now Act 697.

Legislators wrestled with the bill, struggling with whether Tony should remain at the interstate truck stop — the only home he’s ever known — or move to an animal sanctuary.

The national nonprofit Animal Legal Defense Fund is involved in the suit filed Tuesday and assigned to state District Judge William Morvant. The ALDF claims SB250 violates Louisiana’s constitutional ban on the Legislature passing a local or special law.

“The Animal Legal Defense Fund will not allow Tony’s protections to be subverted by backroom politics,” ALDF Executive Director Stephen Wells said Wednesday in a written statement. “Tony deserves to live in a reputable sanctuary, not a gas station parking lot.”

Sandlin, in a telephone interview, repeated his characterization of animal rights activists as domestic terrorists.

“It’s to be expected,” he said of the latest lawsuit. “They don’t like to lose. They don’t give up.”

Laura Gerdes Colligan, a spokeswoman for the state Attorney General’s Office, said the office could not comment because it had not been served with the suit.

State District Judge Mike Caldwell ruled in 2011 in a suit filed by ALDF that Tony was not permitted by Louisiana law to remain at the truck stop. The judge concluded the state Department of Wildlife and Fisheries violated its own rules by exempting Sandlin and Tiger Truck Stop from permit requirements for owners of big cats.

The state 1st Circuit Court of Appeal affirmed Caldwell’s decision, and the Louisiana Supreme Court refused in the fall to hear Sandlin’s appeal of Caldwell’s ruling that he cannot get a state license to keep a tiger there.

Sandlin maintains he has held a federal permit to keep tigers at the truck stop since 1988. He has exhibited tigers at his truck stop since 1984.

He also says Tony has a swimming pool, an air-conditioned den and a grassy play area.

A 2006 state law bans anyone other than colleges, sanctuaries, zoos, wildlife research centers and scientific organizations from possessing big exotic cats. Tony was living at the truck stop several years before the ban went into effect.

SB250 allows Sandlin to keep only Tony. He cannot obtain more tigers, even after Tony dies.

Sandlin is suing the state for discrimination. He wants the option of buying a companion for Tony or a successor.

The state Department of Wildlife and Fisheries previously agreed not to move Tony until the lawsuit Sandlin filed against the state is resolved.

Sandlin, a private exhibitor, says he has the same license for housing an exotic animal as LSU has for its mascot, Mike the Tiger, and the Baton Rouge Zoo has for its tigers.

http://theadvocate.com/home/9557578-125/lawsuit-challenges-constitutionality-of-tony

Posted June 26, 2014 by freetonythetiger in Uncategorized

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